Apple announced today that Google CEO Eric Schmidt voluntarily resigned from his position on Apple’s Board of Directors. Now you might think that this would quell the FTC’s investigation into the close ties shared between Apple and Google, but you’d be wrong.
In response to Schmidt’s resignation, the FTC, which has been investigating the Apple/Google relationship since May, issued a statement praising the move, but noted that its investigation would continue.
We have been investigating the Google/Apple interlocking directorates issue for some time and commend them for recognizing that sharing directors raises competitive issues, as Google and Apple increasingly compete with each other. We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies.
In case you’re wondering what’s left to investigate, Apple board member and Genetch CEO Arthur Levinson also holds a seat on Google’s board of directors. But seeing as how Levinson isn’t “in the know” to the same extent Schmidt was, we highly doubt that anything is gonna come of it. And also, don’t you think that if there was even the semblance of a conflict of interest or impropriety stemming from Levinson’s dual role as a board member, that Apple would be the first party to step up and have a little sit down chat with Mr. Levinson?
It’s also worth pointing out that former Vice President Al Gore is a current Apple board member, in addition to serving as a senior advisor to Google.
And in a ode to comedic timing (well, maybe not), all of this Schmidt/Apple brouhaha is happening just as the FCC has begun questioning Apple, Google, and AT&T over the removal of Google Voice apps from the iTunes App Store.